Chipotle Black-Bean Vegetable Soup
3 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 small carrots, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 rib celery, diced (about 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup minced red bell pepper
1 chipotle chili pepper en adobo, cut into small pieces
4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (may substitute low-sodium chicken broth if making a non-vegetarian version)
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon pure chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, sour cream and lime wedges, for garnish
Directions: Combine the drained black beans, onion, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, chipotle chili pepper, broth, marjoram, chili powder and cumin in a 5-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. (If using meat, submerge it in the center of the mixture.)
Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours, stirring once or twice during that time. The soup will thicken slightly as it cooks.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor until smooth; or use an immersion (stick) blender. (If using meat, remove it before pureeing and return it to the soup afterward.) Taste and add salt as needed.
To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls; top with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream, and lime wedges on the side. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: For a nonvegetarian version, add a hambone or 1 link of andouille or smoked sausage. If you start this soup at breakfast time, it will be ready to eat for lunch. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
— Washington Post recipe adapted from Beth Hensperger’s “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two” (Harvard Common Press, 2006).